More living donations can cut waiting time for kidney

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) shares the double joy in Tuesday's report ("First paired kidney exchange here") and applauds donors such as Madam Noor Rafidah Nasir for their gifts to humanity.

We are heartened to learn that both Madam Noor and her daughter, Ms Siti Rasyidah Lokman Hadan, can now lead normal lives after their transplants and no longer face limitations in their day-to-day activities, such as having to undergo routine dialysis treatment.

A transplant provides kidney patients with the best chance of long-term survival and quality of life.

It is the optimal solution to kidney failure, as it is the closest to a cure and will enable young kidney patients such as Ms Siti to grow up like any other normal person and be able to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.

The NKF continues to promote kidney transplant. Together with the National University Hospital, the Shaw-NKF Children's Kidney Centre seeks to help young patients on dialysis, through a wide range of programmes to give them hope that they will one day be given a new lease of life through kidney transplantation.

The numbers have been modest so far, with many patients waiting beyond the average waiting time of nine years for a good match.

Cadaveric donations alone are not enough to have an impact on the long waiting list.

We hope that more people will come forward to give others with kidney failure, especially loved ones, a better quality of life, through living donations, just like what Madam Noor did.

To encourage this, the NKF has in place a Kidney Live Donor Support Programme, where financial assistance is given to needy living donors.

The funding covers the costs of annual health screenings and medical follow-ups; one-time reimbursement of hospitalisation and surgical insurance premiums; and insurance coverage for the Group Living Policy, for which we have doubled the sum insured to $200,000.

We will continue to look at ways to enhance coverage so patients can be assured that costs will not be an obstacle in the donor's long-term medical follow-up.

NKF remains committed to raising awareness of kidney disease and prevention in the community.

We encourage people to take charge of their health by simply following a healthy diet, a more active lifestyle, with a good dose of exercise, and regular health checks when appropriate.

Edmund Kwok

Chief Executive

National Kidney Foundation

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2016, with the headline 'More living donations can cut waiting time for kidney'. Print Edition | Subscribe